Senior Walkabout Program

WORTHINGTON, Ohio (Mar 10, 1996) — 

The Linworth Campus of Worthington High School offers a Senior Walkabout Program that allows seniors who have met graduation requirements to use all or a portion of the second semester to test their skills and abilities in the adult world of work.

In May 1995, senior Brian Belland chose to come to OSC to examine career and academic goals, as well as participate in a creative endeavor with OSC staff member, Fred Whiteman. Brian is developing a multimedia presentation under the supervision of Dr. Whiteman. Brian's presentation summarizes his Walkabout experiences at the OSU College of Veterinary Medicine with C. Allen Shaffer, and Bob Marringer at TransMet.

What is Walkabout?

The "Walkabout" program is the result of the successful merger of the school and the community. Since 1975, joint efforts of community professionals and trades people and the Linworth Staff have provided over 600 students with an experiential component to a curriculum of academic course work.

The Results:

  • a school which demonstrates the relationship between education and action
  • a community which participates in the education of a future generation of workers, thereby giving relevance to classroom teaching and a promise for the future
  • a graduate who comes equipped with tangible products and experiences - not just a list of completed credits.

The Linworth "Walkabout" program, which derives its name fro the Australian aboriginal rite of passage from adolescence to adulthood, marks a transition from youth and school to adulthood and community life. It is designed to develop the skills, attitudes and values of responsible adulthood. Central to the program is the belief that being tested in a classroom setting doesn't prove the ability to apply the knowledge. The test of Walkabout, and the life, is not what a student can do under a teacher's direction, but what he or she can do as an individual.

Linworth seniors who have met graduation requirements, may use all or a portion of the second semester to test their skills and abilities in the adult world of work. The student may choose to examine career and academic goals, offer community service, hone practical or survival skills, explore college programs, or participate in a research project or creative endeavor.

How It Works:
After the student interviews with a prospective mentor, and both parties decide to proceed with a Walkabout, the student works at the chosen placement for nine weeks under the guidance of the mentor. Here, he or she experiences a representative sample of the activities of the business or service, in a 50/50 exchange of service for learning.

Student's Role

  • Responsibilities:
    • Purchase walkabout liability insurance
    • Determine working hours with placement mentor
    • Attend walkabout daily
    • Notify placement and school in case of absence or tardiness
    • Keep daily journals; submit weekly to Linworth advisor
    • Attend weekly seminar at Linworth
  • Expectations:
    • Earn high school credit only - no salary
    • Learn about adult life by performing adult roles
    • Practice taking responsibility
    • Experience accountability
    • Experience a realistic sample of work activity
  • Objectives:
    • Develop skills in real life experiences
    • Prepare for adult roles
    • Build good working relationships with co-workers
    • Test himself or herself in adult settings
    • Be able to make educated decisions based on information rather than rumor
  • Rewards:
    • Gain confidence through challenge
    • Learn a skill, trade or to test career possibility
    • Clarify goals
    • Present to community what has been accomplished

Mentor's Role

  • Responsibilities:
    • Clarify obligations of the student
    • Determine working hours with the student
    • Provide realistic sample of work activity
    • Be a role model
    • Notify Linworth coordinator in case of a problem
    • Complete an evaluation form
  • Potential Costs:
    • Lost time during training
    • Temporarily reduced efficiency during training
    • Mistakes during training
  • Paybacks:
    • Development of a skilled helper
    • Possibility of increased productivity
    • Possibility of attracting future employees
  • Opportunities:
    To enable the student to:
    • Apply classroom learning
    • Learn a skill, trade or test career possibility
    • Experience decision making skills
    • Develop personal responsibility through accountability
    • Develop readiness to assume adult roles
    • Realize a sense of worth to self and community
  • Rewards:
    • Create visibility for company
    • Have an impact on the process of developing future adults
    • Offer a service to the community